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Chike Okonkwo, Francia Raisa, Jessica Oyelowo, David Oyelowo, Erica Greve and Sara Evans pose for a photo at the Unlikely Heroes 6th Annual Recognizing Heroes Charity Benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas on October 27, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for Unlikely Heroes )

Unlikely Heroes, a non-profit organization that rescues and restores child victims of slavery worldwide held their 6th Annual Recognizing Heroes Awards Dinner & Charity Benefit on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The evening kicked off with award-winning actor, David Oyelowo and his wife, Unlikely Heroes ambassador and actress, Jessica Oyelowo welcoming guests to a very special evening with a with a non-profit close to their hearts. “We love that you are here and to help set those trapped in slavery free” says David Oyelowo. The two described their unbreakable bond they have established with the girls, Unlikely Heroes and CEO Erica Greve. “When you rescued us, you gave us a fighting chance to live and to become educated to help others in need” says Jessica Oyelowo when asking the girls what you like people to know about you and the Unlikely Heroes foundation. The audience roared with applause when Austin Hurst of Hurst Capital announced that he was pledging a ONE MILLION DOLLAR matching grant that will rescue 200 kids and give them full restorative care for a year! He encouraged guests to match his contribution so that together over 400 children would be rescued. 


The evening’s keynote speaker was survivor leader, Rebecca Bender. This year’s event also featured live musical performances by Emily West (America’s Got Talent Season 9) and Pia Toscano. The charity benefit was joined by celebrities from across the nation and more than 450 influencers and prominent members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community who gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Guests enjoyed an unforgettable evening featuring a live musical performance by Multi-Platinum Country Music Superstar, Sara Evans, an exclusive VIP cocktail reception with celebrity hosts LeeAnne Locken and Melissa Rycroft, silent auction, and red carpet arrivals with special guests, Francia Raísa (Grown-ish), David Oyelowo (Gringo, A Wrinkle in Time, Selma),Jessica Oyelowo (Alice In Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow), Pia Toscano (Netflix’s Westside, American Idol), LeeAnne Locken (Real Housewives of Dallas), Melissa Rycroft (Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor), Shane Stevens(Singer/Songwriter), Chef Tiffany Derry (Top Chef Jr, Bar Rescue), Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mom), Emily West (America’s Got Talent), and fashion designer Abi Ferrin.

The 2018 Awards bestowed upon four deserving honorees for their tireless work in advancing global human rights and outstanding efforts to stop human trafficking.

Hero Award Honorees–

1.     Cathy De La Paz – Detective Dallas PD
2.     Carrie Wright – DCAC and Dallas County MDT Care Coordinator
3.     Elle Snow – Survivor Leader
4.     Alan Schonborn – Governor’s Office Child Sex Trafficking Team and regional Director MDTs

Legacy Award Honorees –

1.     MAVS Foundation
2.     Lowe’s
3.     Pro Players Foundation
4.     Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs
5.     Ryan Van Steenis

Since 2011, Unlikely Heroes has rescued hundreds of children and their journey to freedom starts in one of their 7 restoration homes located around the world, including a restoration home for children rescued from slavery in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. The experienced Unlikely Heroes teams are on the ground in the United States, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines, providing the very best in restorative care, safe housing, education, life skills, medical care, counseling, stability and love to every single child they care for. Learn more at www.UnlikelyHeroes.com.
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